This is an overview of how my solar system is wired, the components I used, and where I purchased them.
The 10 solar panels are wired in series-parallel. Each solar panel is 100 watts. I purchased them from here, but they aren’t displaying their catalog anymore. It seems like you have to request a catalog from them now.
The numbers correspond to the component table below.
To see how I mounted the solar panels, read this post.
The rest of the system is wired like this:
Disclosure: This table contains Amazon Affiliate links for products that I used to set up my solar system as described in this post. HurriedYear.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com.
number Item qty Comments
1 4-Way Lateral Single Fuse Box
1 Using this type of fuse box for the solar panels allows me to easily remove the fuses whenever I need to. This is better than searching for messy inline fuses.
2 Outback Flexmax 80 FM80 MPPT 80 AMP Solar Charge Controller
1 Outback is a trusted name in charge controllers. Some other companies have tried to make cheap knock offs of this charge controller. Setting it up was breeze and it took less than 5 minutes. The components are top notch. Even in 95 degree weather, It did not overheat.
3 #12 AWG THHN Stranded red and black wire 50 ft Used #12 for the solar panels
4 Xantrex PROWatt 2000 Inverter, Model# 806-1220
1 This a 2000 watt pure sine wave inverter with a 3000 watt surge. It is able to run my air conditioner, charge my electronics, and run my induction cook top no problem. I was even running some power tools with it during the build.
5 DC toggle switch 3 Picked these up at Advanced Auto. Just a basic toggle switch. Easy to install by drilling a hole.
6 Blue Sea Systems 5031 ST Blade Fuse Block without Cover
1 This a basic fuse box that uses ATC fuses. I wish I bought the one with a plastic cover.
7 Bussmann (CB185-100) 100 Amp Type III Circuit Breaker
2 This is a really safe breaker I used for the battery isolator and fuse box. It makes it easy to disconnect the Isolator and the fuse box for maintenance.
8 Bussmann (BP/CB185-80) 80 Amp Circuit Breaker
1 I used this 80 amp breaker for the charge controller. It serves as a breaker and a way of disconnecting the charge controller from the system.
9 Blue Sea Systems Class T 225 to 400A Fuse Block with Insulating Cover
1 Xantrex recommends a 250 amp fuse for the Prowatt SW2000. This fuse block houses the 250 fuse below.
10 BLUE SEA SYSTEMS Fuse, Class T, 250 Amp,
1 This fuses the inverter. It is high quality and has a very fast reaction speed.
11 100 amp mini busbar w/ 6 screws 1 I used this busbar to bond any of the DC appliances with a metal exterior.
12 250 amp busbar w/ 4 studs 1 This busbar bonds everything to the van via the bolt near the engine.
13 Drok 500A Ammeter 1 The great thing about this meter is that it can display negative values. The meter is always lit blue so it makes a little light at night. It doesn't come with any type of housing, but an Altoid box works great.
14 Apex 260 Ah Sealed AGM Batteries 3 These are the best value AGM batteries that I've found. The company gave me a discount on shipping too. Keep an eye out for coupon codes on their website.
15 2/0 black wire 27 ft Ordered by the Foot.
16 2/0 red wire 24 ft Ordered by the Foot.
17 #4 AWG black wire 11 ft Ordered by the Foot.
18 #4 AWG red wire 7 ft Ordered by the Foot.
19 #14 AWG THHN stranded red, black, and green wire 100 ft All DC appliances and switches used #14 wire.
20 Various ATC fuses N/A Purchased from Home Depot
21 #12 waterproof butt splices with shrink wrap few Purchased from Home Depot
22 #12 appliance lugs few Purchased from Home Depot
23 #14 appliance lugs several Purchased from Home Depot
24 #14 butt splices several Purchased from Home Depot
25 #12 Ring lugs with 5/16 hole few Purchased from Home Depot
26 2/0 ring lugs 2 packs These Lugs require a special crimper tool.
27 #4 ring lugs 1 pack These Lugs require a special crimper tool.
28 Cole Hersee Battery Isolator 1 This battery isolator can handle 200 amps which makes it a good choice for Sprinters with the larger alternator option. There are no moving parts so it'll last a very long time. I prefer this isolator over a relay type.
29 Dream Lighting LED (6 Pack) 1 These lights were much brighter than expected. A 6-pack was plenty to completely light up the whole van. They give the option to be screwed in, but I made the holes the perfect size so I was able to clip them in. The leads were soldered in so I just butt spliced them. They do give off a little heat and should have some air space above them.
30 Marine Grade Cigarette Lighter Sockets 4 These have covers to keep dirt, dust, and moisture out. They'll stay clean and last a long time. They come with a little face plate, but I installed them without it.
31 120 Volt recepticle 2 Purchased from Home Depot
32 50 ft #14 AWG extension cord 1 Purchased from Harbor Freight. This was the cheapest way to wire the Inverter to the outlets. Just had to cut one end off.
Everything was screwed to the board after I had a basic idea of where it would go. Then it was as simple as connecting the wires, and putting the fuses in.
To keep the batteries in place, I reused some of the old anchor points that came with the van to strap them down. I also screwed some wood into the floor to keep them from sliding around.
I have 4 DC outlets, and 2 AC receptacles. One of the receptacles is for the stove only. It is located under the counter top.
Four of the lights above the kitchen counter are on one switch, and the other two lights above the bed are on another switch. The lights are wired in parallel. These were surprisingly bright and they easily light up the whole van.
The current meter shows the net current of the whole system. If it’s positive, the batteries are charging. If it’s negative, the batteries are being discharged. An Altoid box was a perfect fit for the meter.
This is how it is wired:
To mount the battery isolator, I moved the horn, and screwed it just above the engine battery.
- The batteries are wired in parallel giving me 780 amp hours.
- The solar system, and the Sprinter electric system are both bonded to a single point.
- All appliances from the fuse box were wired with #14 AWG stranded THHN wire.
- Anything with a metal exterior, such as the fridge, was bonded to the mini busbar.
- The 2/0 and #4 green wire is actually black with green tape.
- All connections are well accessible.
- I intentionally chose not to put wires behind wall panels.
- The 2/0 and #4 lugs require a special crimper tool such as the Hammer Crimper Tool (Amazon link). The alternative is to use a hydraulic crimper too, but they are very expensive.
- A 50 foot extension cord was used to wire the AC receptacles because it was cheap.
I’m getting a lot of questions about how to make decisions regarding solar systems and selecting components. I’m going to save all the reasoning behind my system for another post. Otherwise, this post would be extremely long. If you want to stay tuned for that post, subscribe to my email alerts.
On another note, I’m in Houston catching up on some work. I think I want to head toward Big Bend National park, but that plan isn’t set in stone.
UPDATE 12/20/2016: I now have 3-315 watt solar panels wired in series instead of the panels mentioned in this post. Other than that, all the wiring is still the same. See this post about the new panels.
Disclosure: This post contains Amazon affiliate Links. HurriedYear.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com.